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AI Capable of Generating Novel, Functionally Active Proteins to Speed Up Drug Development

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Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, present a way to generate synthetic proteins using Artificial Intelligence. The new approach has huge potential for developing efficient industrial enzymes as well as new protein-based medicine, such as antibodies and vaccines. Artificial Intelligence is now capable of generating novel, functionally active proteins, thanks to recently published work by researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. "What we are now able to demonstrate offers fantastic potential for a number of future applications, such as faster and more cost-efficient development of protein-based drugs," says Aleksej Zelezniak, Associate Professor at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers. Proteins are large, complex molecules that play a crucial role in all living cells, building, modifying, and breaking down other molecules naturally inside our cells.


Unique AI method for generating proteins to speed up drug development

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"What we are now able to demonstrate offers fantastic potential for a number of future applications, such as faster and more cost-efficient development of protein-based drugs," says Aleksej Zelezniak, Associate Professor at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers. Proteins are large, complex molecules that play a crucial role in all living cells, building, modifying, and breaking down other molecules naturally inside our cells. They are also widely used in industrial processes and products, and in our daily lives. Protein-based drugs are very common--the diabetes drug insulin is one of the most prescribed. Some of the most expensive and effective cancer medicines are also protein-based, as well as the antibody formulas currently being used to treat COVID-19.


AI Method For Generating Proteins Will Speed Up Drug Development - Pioneering Minds

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Artificial Intelligence is now capable of generating novel, functionally active proteins. Researchers are now able to demonstrate offers fantastic potential for a number of future applications, such as faster and more cost-efficient development of the protein-based drug. The new results from the Chalmers researchers represent a breakthrough in the field of synthetic proteins. They have developed an AI-based approach called ProteinGAN, which uses a generative deep learning approach. In essence, the AI is provided with a large amount of data from well-studied proteins; it studies this data and attempts to create new proteins based on it. At the same time, another part of the AI tries to figure out if the synthetic proteins are fake or not. The proteins are sent back and forth in the system until the AI cannot tell apart from natural and synthetic proteins anymore. This method is well known for creating photos and videos of people who do not exist, but in this study, it was used for producing highly diverse protein variants with naturalistic-like physical properties that could be tested for their functions.


Artificial intelligence system rapidly predicts how two proteins will attach

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Antibodies, small proteins produced by the immune system, can attach to specific parts of a virus to neutralize it. As scientists continue to battle SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, one possible weapon is a synthetic antibody that binds with the virus' spike proteins to prevent the virus from entering a human cell. To develop a successful synthetic antibody, researchers must understand exactly how that attachment will happen. Proteins, with lumpy 3D structures containing many folds, can stick together in millions of combinations, so finding the right protein complex among almost countless candidates is extremely time-consuming. To streamline the process, MIT researchers created a machine-learning model that can directly predict the complex that will form when two proteins bind together.


Why Synthetic Protein Research Needs More Funding - Facts So Romantic

Nautilus

Proteins are the workhorses of all living creatures, fulfilling the instructions of DNA. They occur in a wide variety of complex structures and carry out all the important functions in our body and in all living organisms--digesting food, building tissue, transporting oxygen through the bloodstream, dividing cells, firing neurons, and powering muscles. Remarkably, this versatility comes from different combinations, or sequences, of just 20 amino acid molecules. How these linear sequences fold up into complex structures is just now beginning to be well understood. Even more remarkably, nature seems to have made use of only a tiny fraction of the potential protein structures available--and there are many.